Olympic and Paralympic athletes are being treated to 100% certified sustainable Icelandic cod thanks, in part, to the extraordinary efforts of Iceland’s fishermen. All cod served to athletes in the Olympic Village comes from Visir, a family-run fishing business in south west Iceland.
Visir is part of a world leading effort by Icelandic fishermen to ensure the sustainability of their products. As recognition of this, Icelandic cod can be sold with the blue MSC label – a credible mark of sustainability that everyone can look out for when buying seafood.
Safeguarding the environment and seafood supplies
Iceland’s fishermen only catch cod at a rate at which it can naturally regenerate. They also avoid fishing in areas with sensitive habitats and follow scientific advice on where and when to fish and how much to catch. For companies like Visir, these efforts mean bigger, higher quality fish.
Pétur Hafsteinn Pálsson Visir’s general manager, grandson of the company’s founder, believes that it’s important to leave a lasting legacy for future generations: “We fish sustainably in order to preserve the legacy of fishing in Iceland. It means that we can continue to provide consumers with delicious, high quality Icelandic cod forever. Showcasing our catch at Rio 2016 is an absolute privilege.”
A tradition linking Iceland and Brazil
Whilst the cod served at the Olympic and Paralympic Games comes from Iceland, it also has deep cultural roots in Brazil. Cod, particularly “bacalhau” (salted cod) is a traditional festive dish in Brazil. It is eaten at Christmas and during family gatherings, often in a stew with potatoes, or as “bolinhos de bacalhau” (croquettes of salted cod).
Icelandic fishermen have been supplying salted cod to Southern America and Europe for generations. There’s a common saying in Iceland, “Lífið er saltfiskur” or “Life is salted fish”. Today salted fish accounts for 15-20% of the value of seafood exports from Iceland.
Nicolas Guichoux, commercial director at the MSC said: “Bacalhau typifies the cultural connections created by the international trade of seafood. Without fish for tomorrow, these traditions would become difficult to maintain. That’s one reason why it’s so important for consumers to support responsible fishermen, such as those in Iceland. Looking for the blue MSC label is a simple way of helping to ensure healthy, thriving oceans for the future.”
Why cod is a great choice for Olympians
Cod is a lean, meaty fish which is high in protein and Omega-3 oils but low in fat – ideal for athletes needing to maintain strength during the Olympics. Its versatile nature also means that it is adaptable to all methods of cooking.
Consumers around the world can enjoy the same sustainably caught cod as Olympic and Paralympic athletes by choosing seafood with the blue MSC label, sold by retailers and brands including Carrefour, Waitrose, Lidl, Albert Heijn and many more.
Other Olympic options
MSC certified Canadian chum salmon will also be served at the Games along with ASC certified responsibly sourced farmed fish.
This article was originally published by the Marine Stewardship Council, August 5, 2016.